Irish Footballers that Played for Liverpool FC - Ronnie Whelan
Ronnie Whelan - Introduction
Midfielder Ronnie Whelan was born in Dublin on 25 September 1961. His father, also Ronnie, had been an Irish international player and his younger brother played for Bohemians in the League of Ireland. Clearly Whelan had a good football pedigree and it was no great surprise when he began to star as a teenager for Dublin club Home Farm. Liverpool FC manager Bob Paisley moved swiftly to bring Ronnie Whelan to Anfield Road snapping him up before rivals Manchester United had time to firm up their interest. Liverpool paid £35,000 to Home Farm in September 1979 to sign Whelan.
Ronnie Whelan & Liverpool
Ronnie Whelan made his Liverpool debut on 3 April 1981 against Stoke City at Anfield. It was a First Division match and a dream debut for the the young Whelan. After 27 matches Whelan latched on to a through ball from Sammy Lee and scored his first goal for Liverpool FC.
It was his only first team appearance for the club that season however in the next season he made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. With 14 goals in the 1981/82 season Ronnie Whelan was Liverpool's fourth highest goal scorer. Some of his goals that season were vital to the Reds' victorious League campaign including important goals against Everton and Southampton in the latter half of the season.
Ronnie Whelan won a First Division winners medal and to this he added a League Cup winners medal. This competition would prove to be a lucky competition for the young Dubliner. In the final that year against Tottenham Hotspur Whelan scored two goals including a late equaliser to bring the game to extra time. He went on to score the first goal in the extended play as Liverpool FC ran out 3-1 winners.
Whelan and Liverpool FC repeated the same double in the following season as the Reds won the League at a canter. Yet again Ronnie Whelan scored an extra time goal in the League Cup final. This time it was 2-1 win against Manchester United.
In the 1983/84 season Liverpool FC went one better by adding the European Cup to the League title and the League Cup. Playing alongside fellow Irish internationals, Mark Lawrenson and Michael Robinson, Liverpool claimed the top European competition in Rome beating AS Roma in a penalty shoot-out.
Liverpool and Whelan went on to win three more League titles and two FA Cups including the Double in the 1985/86 season. In a truly glittering football career Ronnie Whelan made 493 appearances for Liverpool FC, scoring a total of 73 goals, and winning 12 major honours. Whelan made his last appearance for Liverpool on 7 May 1994 against Aston Villa in a Premier League match at Villa Park. In September 1994 he left Liverpool FC to become player-manager of Southend United.
Ronnie Whelan - Ireland Career
Ronnie Whelan made his debut for Ireland on 14 October 1981 against France at Lansdowne Road (now Aviva Stadium). Irish football manager Eoin Hand gave Whelan his debut in this 1982 World Cup qualifier that Ireland won 3-2. Whelan had made just three starts for Liverpool when his international career began.
His first goal for Ireland came in a Euro 88 qualifier against Luxembourg in May 1987. He played in six matches in this qualification campaign as Ireland qualified for it's first ever major championship finals. Whelan made it into the Irish Euro 88 squad and went on to play in all three matches at the finals in Germany. Most memorably he scored a spectacular volley from a Mick McCarthy throw-in against the former USSR. Replays showed that the ball actually came off his shin but nothing could take away from the spectacular nature of the strike.
Ronnie Whelan was included in Jack Charlton's Irish 1990 World Cup squad and the 1994 World Cup squad but unfortunately he never saw any game time. His last game for the Republic of Ireland was against Austria in June 1995 in a 1996 Euro qualifier. It was an inauspicious end to a great player's international career as the Irish crashed to a 1-3 defeat at home. In total Ronnie Whelan played for Ireland on 53 occasions and he scored three goals, the last coming against Northern Ireland in a 1990 World Cup qualifier at Lansdowne Road.
Ronnie Whelan - Liverpool & Republic of Ireland Statistics
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Sammy Smyth - Steve Staunton - Ronnie Whelan
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